As part of the Nature’s pHarmacy 72 minutes a day self-care routine, we recommend that you spend at least 7 minutes a day practicing gratitude.
A gratitude practice can take many forms, but at its core it’s about putting time aside each day to notice and reflect upon the things you are thankful for. This practice can have many benefits, including an improvement in mood, a feeling of connectedness, better relationships, less stress, better sleep, greater health, and a stronger immune system! The benefits are greater if you physically write down those things you are grateful for.
Although gratitude research is still in its infancy, the mechanisms of a few of the benefits of a consistent gratitude practice have been identified.
Improvement in mood. Expressing gratitude can rewire your brain in a positive way. It boosts levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin – the “feel good” chemicals. Practicing gratitude daily can help strengthen these neural pathways to create a more permanent positive outlook. Studies have shown that adding a gratitude practice to conventional psychotherapy sessions significantly improved mental health and positive outcomes.
A feeling of connectedness and improved relationships. The surging of positive neurochemicals in the brain also helps us feel a sense of closeness, connectedness, and happiness, which can translate to all relationships in our lives.
Less Stress. Practicing gratitude not only increases the feel-good chemicals in the brain, it also significantly reduces the production of cortisol, the main stress hormone. This in turn reduces feelings of fear and anxiety.
Better Sleep. Studies have shown that “grateful” people have improved quality and quantity of sleep, due to the types of thoughts they have as they lie in bed. Grateful people are more likely to think positive thoughts, and more interestingly, gratitude decreased the likelihood of negative pre-sleep thoughts.
Stronger immune system. Gratitude leads to optimism, and optimism has been shown to boost the immune system.
With all these amazing benefits, it’s a great time to start your own gratitude practice!
Since we are grateful for you, we would like to give you a free copy of our new DrJ 3-Month Gratitude Journal, just in time for the holidays! You can download it here to add a gratitude practice to your daily routine. Once you have completed the 12-week journal, we’d love to hear about any changes or shifts that you may have noticed at firstname.lastname@example.org.